Monday, April 05, 2010
The Master Of Lunacy FFF #27
Four words: Cache, Cashew, Eschew, & Through.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God," Mr. Burlington frantically thought as he followed the orderly down the bright salmon colored hallway, "Please let me be sane! Or at least be able to convince Dr. Shaw!" The orderly ushered him into the wood paneled office and asked him to take a seat and the doctor would be right with him.
Burlington sat in the overstuffed leather chair across from the large desk and waited. He stared out the window at a walnut tree and the two chickadees that were flitting through it. They seemed to be in love. There was a nest they were building on the nearest bow. He tried to relax and watch them construct their new home to clear his mind, but he just couldn't sit still. He walked to the window to take a closer look, but the birds flew away.
He looked around the room for something to distract himself as the doctor was taking an awfully long time. The room was sparse and the only picture was a still life of a bowl of fruit. Burlington noticed that they were all bananas. There was the empty desk, two leather chairs, and a small bookshelf with a dictionary, medical encyclopedias, and a couple of back issues of American Psychology. The only thing that showed that this wasn't a disused room was a large bowl of cashews placed in the center of the desk. Burlington absentmindedly munched a couple from the doctor's cache and stared out the window to see if the chickadees would return. He tried to think of nothing.
"Ah, I see you've found my nuts," said the man who shuffled through the door behind him. Burlington gulped hard and wished he had some water to wash down his mouthful of salty cashews. The man was dressed in the same terry clothe robe and standard issue pajamas as he was.
"Where is Dr. Shaw?" Burlington asked. The cashews stuck to the back of his dry throat as his palms began to sweat.
The man flashed a comforting smile. "Dr. Shaw has been detained. I am Dr. Breedlove and I will be filling in for him. Please sit down Mr.-" he consulted the file folder in his hand, "Mr. Burlington, and let's get started. This is a simple evaluation and only takes a few minutes. Make yourself comfortable."
Burlington sat and watched as the robed man took his seat across the desk from him. "You are dressed like I am. Is that common?" Burlington asked.
"It is a new policy of the hospital. The doctors and staff are to dress as the patients so that there is more of a bonding and less friction with an authority figure. In short, we eschew formality. Dr. Brown of the California Institute of Psychology has had great success with this measure," Breedlove explained as he sat and flipped through the folder without looking up.
"Are you the Master of Lunacy? Are you the one to decide if I'm sane?" Burlington wished his voice wouldn't have cracked as he said this but he couldn't take it back now.
"They don't call this post the Master of Lunacy anymore. I am the acting Director of Admissions. Up until now, you have been fulfilling your court-ordered mandate to seek psychiatric care. We just need to know if you need more care or not. Let's get started, shall we?" Breedlove returned to his comforting smile. "I will ask you a few questions, and reaction time is a factor in this, but respond truthfully and we will be done in minutes." Breedlove let his eyes bore into his as if he was trying to see his brain through his eye sockets.
"Do you feel the hospital has been a help to you?" he asked.
"Oh sure," Burlington felt he was on easy ground here, "The staff are ever so nice, and the fresh fruit and enemas have done wonders. I feel like I am a whole new man! I especially enjoyed the group sessions as it let me know that I wasn't alone in this. I was facing my troubles head on and helping others with theirs too. Mrs. Abood was a great moderator and I think I've learned a lot about myself and others." Without any effort at all, his prepared speech came out.
Breedlove check marked a few boxes on the top paper and returned to his piercing glare. "What will you do if you return to society?" he asked.
"My brother has a moving company and has promised to take me on full time. Mrs. Sekorskey has kept my apartment these eight months, so I have a place to stay." The lump of cashews moved a little further down his parched throat but his tongue felt like it was covered in a thick layer of salt. He felt a cold trickle of sweat slide from his underarm down his ribcage but tried to ignore it.
"We are almost done Mr. Burlington. I just have a few more questions," Breedlove reassured him. He placed an eight by ten card on the table with a smear of ink on it. "What does this look like to you?" he asked.
"An ink blot," Burlington answered bluntly.
"No, no, no. Do you see a picture?"
"It looks like someone dropped a plate of spaghetti."
"A bath tub."
"And this one?"
Breedlove scribbled a few more notes and shut the folder with a snap. He handed Burlington a piece of paper with an official looking seal. "Mr. Burlington," he sighed, "you are as sane as I am. Show this to the orderly and go collect your things. There is a cab waiting at the front door to return you to your home. The best of luck to you, and should you need help in the future, don't hesitate to call." Breedlove shook his hand warmly and opened the door to send him on his way into the wide world with the honest hope that everything would come up roses for the young man.
Breedlove chewed a few nuts while watching from the office window as the cab pulled away. When it had disappeared from sight, he noticed the chickadees in the tree as they returned and padded their nest.
He turned from the window and slipped the file into an empty drawer. "Now for Dr. Shaw," he thought as he returned to the janitor's closet where his hostage was tied up with bed sheets. "I need a few new ink blots in blood," he thought, and reached for a sharp chisel and some paper. Dr. Shaw was wide-eyed as he struggled against his bonds and he tried to scream against his gag, but to no avail.